Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Toronto Star,
“I always thought Nik Antropov was a great hockey player from the first year I saw him,” Sundin said, referring to the fact Antropov has gained votes, among the media at least, as the Leafs’ best player so far.
“I saw that he was big and strong, that he had a reach and a great shot. I thought he had all the tools to be a great player.”
Antropov is now within four goals of eclipsing his previous career high of 18. He is also on pace for 40 goals, 42 assists and 82 points – all of which would smash his previous bests.
What a difference two weeks makes.
Fourteen days ago, the Toronto Maple Leafs hit rock bottom with a dismal 5-1 defeat in Phoenix. The loss, Toronto’s third straight, dropped the team to 8-11-5 and had fans and media alike waiting — some hoping — for the axe to fall on general manager John Ferguson and head coach Paul Maurice.
Fuuny how some MSM folks and one particular “entertainer” told us the end was near. Now what do they have to say?
from the Globe and Mail,
“When you’re down you sit back and wonder what’s ahead, but that has made my time here that much more enjoyable,” said Devereaux, who has a modest two-game point streak going. “With Toronto, as a player on the outside, you always wonder what it is like to play in this hockey-mad city. It’s turned into a special experience.
“It’s been a crazy ride sometimes, but I’m so thankful to be playing here in this city where it is exciting every day, win or lose. It’s a challenge, but a challenge you relish daily.”
From the CP,
If noted New York Rangers agitator Sean Avery made disparaging remarks toward Jason Blake the last time they faced off, the Toronto forward never heard them.
A Toronto radio report following the teams’ previous meeting last month in Canada said a pre-game scuffle between Avery and Leafs counterpart Darcy Tucker was fuelled by a comment that Avery made toward Blake regarding his current battle with leukemia.
FAN 590 reporter Howard Berger had claimed Avery made “cancer-related remarks” to Blake, citing an unidentified Rangers player. Blake was diagnosed with a rare form of the disease in October but has continued to play while being treated.
From the CP,
“When Wade Belak gets a point, we win,” Belak said. “It’s been proven.
“You look back at all my goals and see if we won or not. Usually it’s a bad night for the other team.”
He was asked if the stick he used in practice was the same one with which he’d scored his rare goal.
“No, no. That’s in the Hockey Hall of Fame now,” he replied.
more… *an entertaining read as Belak gets on a roll with the one-liners. As the writer notes, “That’s Wade Belak: often lost near the net but never lost for words.”
from the Spin, the blog of Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
A week ago, Rome was burning, or at least the Maple Leafs were in freefall, candidates were openly lobbying for John Ferguson’s job, Richard Peddie was saying all kinds of silly things and major organizational change seemed imminent.
Then came a credible performance in a shootout loss to Montreal, followed by a solid victory in Atlanta and an impressive triumph against the struggling Pittsburgh Penguins on home ice Saturday night.
So can the alarm be turned off now? Or should it never have been turned on in the first place?
Well, no and no.
from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,
Sundin was dismissing a highly speculative report that the Swedish contingent on the Detroit Red Wings, including Niklas Lidstrom and Tomas Holmstrom, are set to lobby general manager Ken Holland to acquire the Leafs captain if Toronto falls out of the playoffs.
But Sundin said Saturday night he was not in cahoots with the Motown Scandinavians and repeated yesterday that, as long as he controls his fate with a no-movement contract clause, he’ll stay put.
“That’s very safe to say,” Sundin said. “I didn’t sign a one-year deal last summer to (better accommodate a trade), I want to be a Leaf.”
from Alex Shprintsen at the Globe and Mail,
It is patently obvious the Leafs have had an utterly incompetent collection of scouts during the past 20 years. That must change and quickly, but it’s not that difficult to do. For the $5-million a year the Leafs are paying Kubina, they could hire the best general manager in the business and complement him with the combined scouting staff of the Red Wings, Devils and Avalanche.
This could happen quickly or slowly. Quickly, if the Leafs management were to decide to blow up the current team, getting rid of everyone they could and securing draft picks along with cap space, rebuilding the Penguins’ way by getting high first-round picks for several years. The other — the slow or the very slow — way is to rebuild the team through attrition and gradual smart drafting.
Either way, ultimately, the Leafs’ simplest direct solution is to spend their money to raid the scouting staffs of the most successful teams.
read on to see how the Leafs have drafted compared to othe NHL teams…
I believe most of you have had enough Leafs talk in the last week or so, but Spector covers it today along with some trade and signing talk…
from Bill Lankhof of the Toronto Sun,
Fire the coach! Draw and quarter the ##%%&&())$ general manager!
Trade Sundin! Bench McCabe! Andrew Raycroft is Judas reincarnate!
In the words of that great philosopher, Chicken Little, the sky is falling, which goes to prove only one thing: It must be hockey season in Toronto.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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